Rochdale 3 Pompey 3
Pompey came from behind three times yesterday to earn a valuable point at Rochdale. It was a rare draw for the Blues and their first on the road since August.
Dion Donohue came back into the side at left-back as the only change to Monday`s side.
Three times Dale took the lead once in the first period and twice in the second half. Twice Brett Pitman scored from close range after being set up Jamal Lowe on 26 minutes and Matt Clarke on 62. But when the home side went ahead again on 71 it seemed that the points were lost.
Jackett threw on Oli Hawkins switching to 4-4-2 and then deep into time added on Jack Whatmough crossed and Pitman headed towards goal and the hapless Matt Done headed the ball into his own net.
On a plus point the draw means that Pompey are now safe from relegation!
Pompey (4-1-4-1): McGee; Thompson (Kennedy 60), Whatmough, Clarke, Donohue; Walkes; Lowe, Evans (Hawkins 72), Close, Naismith (O`Keefe 60); Pitman (c)
Goals: Pitman 26, 62, Done 90+2 (og)
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Haunstrup, Ronan
Referee: Scott Oldham
After the game the Blues boss told the Official site: “I felt that Rochdale were almost a yard sharper than us right the way through the game. They had beaten Shrewsbury and Bury going into this one, so obviously had their tails up. It was never going to be easy. We did well to hang on to their coattails and come back three times because our opponents had a good attacking flow with plenty of movement.
“But there were some spaces for us to get into and when that happens, it`s always going to give you a chance. We kept going and changed both personnel and formation during the match to ultimately pick up a point. You always need character and belief to go alongside quality, while a couple of players coming back from injury helped our options.
“We were never on top but gave it everything we`ve got and we`ll certainly need to be better against Plymouth next Saturday.”
“Brett`s trying hard to claim the last one, although it certainly looked like an own-goal from their left-back to me. “But Brett was putting them under pressure and both of his earlier finishes were good, while he was unlucky with another chance in the first half.”
Monday evening at Fratton Park we saw one of those games in Pompey`s history where in years to come fans will day ‘I was there`.
It was the clash of Pompey and their former manager Paul Cook`s Wigan who had been pulling up trees all season including beating Manchester City. What an occasion it was and one that proved once and for all that Kenny Jackett is a manager to be reckoned with as he sent out his side with a plan that worked; and it proved that the team are fit enough to play two games in forty-eight hours.
After the game I was impressed by Cookie`s reaction when he stood on pitch side and shook hands with every Pompey player as they left the pitch. That in my opinion showed true class.
Sky Sports commentator, Gary Weaver summed up the night in one sentence ‘When this club, this stadium and this city have this kind of momentum they can be unstoppable.`
What was so disappointing to see was so many empty seats at the Park on Monday – if you cannot go let somebody else by using the club`s Ticket Exchange Scheme and receive £5 towards next season`s ticket.
Next Saturday Pompey make the crucial trip to the west country for a meeting with Plymouth Argyle.
This is a fixture that has become a regular occurrence and his will be the seventh meeting at Home Park in five and a half years. Pompey have won only on these recent meeting back in 2015 when Matt Tubbs and Gary Roberts both netted penalties in a 2-1 triumph.
The first meeting was way back on 13 April 1921 when Argyle won 2-0. This will be the 65th meeting between the two Naval city sides in all competitions.
Zenit’s recent 2,000km trip to Ufa in Bashkortostan makes a rainy night in Stoke seem trivial – but they came away with three points thanks in part this own goal – the defender hindered by the use of a white ball on the snow-covered pitch.